Thursday, October 15, 2020

Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming

FRIDAY, OCT. 16 in Washington
SATURDAY, OCT. 17 in Massachusetts and Nevada

What did Donald Trump do today?

He cheered what he apparently thought was an extrajudicial murder.

At a rally today in North Carolina, Trump made a vague reference to doings in Portland, and then told this fragment of a story:

The man that shot an innocent man, this was an innocent man shot, killed, instantly killed, I said what happened, well, we haven't arrested him, two days, three days went by, we sent in the U.S. Marshals, took fifteen minutes it was over. Fifteen minutes it was over, we got him. They knew who he was, they didn't want to arrest him, and fifteen minutes that ended. 

It's unlikely the rally crowd could piece together the references in real time—Trump either didn't know or forgot to mention any specifics—but these are the events Trump was referring to.

On August 29, a group of Trump supporters took part in a "cruise" through Portland. Their intention was to provoke anti-racism protestors by shooting them with paintball guns and pepper spray. The cruise was promoted by Russian state media, and appears to have been part of the Putin regime's ongoing attempts to destabilize American society in advance of the election. Trump himself also promoted it

During a confrontation with protestors, one of the pro-Trump side was shot and killed. The victim was Aaron Danielson, and the apparent shooter was Michael Reinoehl, who left the scene but was identified by witnesses and surveillance tapes. On September 3, Reinoehl was shot and killed during an attempt to apprehend him by local law enforcement officers working on a federal task force. (Not "U.S. Marshals, though.) Questions immediately arose about why Reinoehl's arrest turned fatal, since even the police were vague about whether he was armed, and 21 of 22 witnesses didn't hear police identify themselves before opening fire. But the shooting took place an hour after Trump (unnecessarily) ordered police via tweet to "do your job and do it fast" by arresting the "thug" Reinoehl.

In other words, Trump seems to genuinely believe that he ordered the police to perform a gangland killing on the person who killed of one of his own "gang"—and is now bragging about it, or at least what he can remember of it.

Why does this matter?

  • Using police violence to promote the leader's political movement is the literal definition of fascism.
  • At least in America, police aren't supposed to be vigilantes and the president isn't supposed to think he's a gang leader.